"Top speed and in all keys" : Charlie Banacos's pedagogy of jazz improvisation / by L

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Whousedtoplay, Jan 1, 2014.


  1. Whousedtoplay

    Whousedtoplay

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  2. Groove Master

    Groove Master

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    Thanks for posting it. I always wanted to check Banacos's work.
  3. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist Supporting Member

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    The magic of Charlie was his ability to listen to you play and know what YOU needed to work on and then proceed to teach you.
  4. Groove Master

    Groove Master

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    I know what you mean: nothing can beat a one-on-one lesson, especially with this kind of teacher. But I'll look at the file for analysis ;-)
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  6. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt Supporting Member

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    OK, my mind is now sufficiently blown! I will have to check out this little bit of information contained in the dissertation and see where it leads me.
    When I was on tour with Engelbert our guitarist was taking correspondence lessons (via cassette tape) with Charlie. I am kicking myself right now that I didn't follow suit!
  7. onda'bass

    onda'bass Supporting Member

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    Studied with Gary a bit, obviously had a lot insight to Charlie. That was a mind blowing read and insight to the man himself....
  8. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist Supporting Member

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    I was on a waiting list for about 2+ yrs to study with him. If you lived within 100 or 150 miles of him (or something like that), you had to do lessons in person. I used to drive over 2 hours (each way) for a lesson. I only got to study with him for about 6 or 7 months. He wanted everything done in all 12 keys.

    He was crazy busy all the time. He taught in his basement and his wife taught piano upstairs. Sometimes during my lesson, there would be a knock on the door and one of his kids would hand him a sandwich.

    He had hundreds of students and would do the cassette lessons on the fly. He would hand write out a string of notes for improv and all the possible chords that it could be used on. Send you on your way to try to learn it in all 12 keys.

    I was not nearly advanced enough to get the most out of Charlie. But it says a lot about a teacher when Berklee profs like Bruce Gertz studied with him for years and Stern studied with him for about 20 yrs.

    I hear that his daughter has taken over the lessons. I'm sure he taught her everything he knew.
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

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    And who did Charlie Banacos study with?
  10. Groove Master

    Groove Master

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    Agree
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

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    No, he did not study with Correction.
  12. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

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    Since you don't know, it was Jackie Byard, Lennie Tristano and Margaret Chaloff.
  13. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt Supporting Member

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    I almost posted Lennie Tristano, but was unaware of the other two. Thanks!
  14. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist Supporting Member

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    Several things made Charlie special as a teacher. First was his ability to size up a student in a matter of moments just by hearing a few minutes of playing. Second was his perfect pitch. He had amazing ears. His ear training with students was to help the student develop really good relative pitch (if they didn't have perfect pitch) and to hear multiple notes at the same time (chords) and I've heard up to 6, 7, and more notes at a time. I would love to observe Mike Stern do this as he was always the one given as an example.

    He gave more work than most could complete in a week. Everything was to be done in all 12 keys. I believe Bruce Gertz used to be able to finish all the material every week but you have to realize how good Bruce was even back then. I'm sure there were others too.

    If any of you follow some of the stuff that Jeff Berlin does, I can tell you that much of it is the same type of stuff that Charlie would have students do. Play something, play it on one string, play it on just two strings, etc. Approach notes, upper extension triads, etc.
  15. pbass888

    pbass888 Supporting Member

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    i heard many great things from fellow bassists here in nyc who studied with him and all say great stuff about charlie. sounds like he was the real deal.
  16. FretlessMainly

    FretlessMainly

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    I studied with Bruce for ~6 years in the 90s and he told me that he worked his butt off on that stuff. Certainly to cover all of that in a week would require an extreme level of commitment - something Bruce obviously had and still has.
  17. Snake Doctor

    Snake Doctor

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    I studied with Charlie for 10 years via correspondence and have studied with Garry Dial for the past 3 years. Charlie was an incredible teacher on all fronts. Not only did he teach improvisation, but also composition. I am forever grateful of what Charlie shared with me- it changed my life forever!
  18. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1 Supporting Member

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    Gotta check this out.
    Every student of his that I have heard were just phenomenal
    players & soloists.
  19. Snake Doctor

    Snake Doctor

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  20. davidhilton

    davidhilton Supporting Member

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    Bruce was a big influence on me while I was at Berklee. I studied with him for 3 years- twice a week. He would always mention how Banacos may approach this, or how he heard something differently. He seemed to have great respect and thankfulness for Banacos.
    www.basslessonslosangeles.com

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